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Crawford County senior Chelsea Benham blasts her way out of the sixth hole at the Jasper Municipal Golf Course during her third-place finish at the Jasper Sectional Saturday. (Photo Courtesy of Lisa Benham)

Benham third at golf sectional


September 24, 2008
Crawford County's Chelsea Benham qualified for her second girls' golf regional Saturday, when she finished third at the Jasper Sectional. Benham actually finished in a tie for second with Southridge's Sarah Boeglin, but had to settle for the third spot after a one-hole playoff.

"I definitely wanted to go to regional," Benham said Sunday afternoon. "I'm always talking about it's my senior year. My junior year, I made it out to regional. My senior year, I better make it out to regional. I kind of put a little pressure on myself, but I tried to let it go whenever I got up to the tee box of the first hole. Then, I just tried to play my game."

It was a soggy start to the day when a heavy rain shower gave the course a soaking. Benham said that after the rain the greens changed as the day went on.

"Cold and wet," Benham said of the rain. "It didn't rain till we got on the green of the very first hole. Whenever I was putting, it just started pouring. As soon as we got off the green, it stopped.

"The green speed was a lot different, and by afternoon it was pretty fast. The greens started to change and the breaks started to slow down. It changed the greens a lot. It was kind of hard (to adjust) because I three-putted twice where I shouldn't have. It was difficult on certain holes. The greens were a lot faster, so I'd use the same speed and it would go clear across the hole and I'd three-putt. That kind of hurt."

Benham parred that first hold, then struggled on the next three. The Crawford senior got a prize on the par-four fifth hole when she stroked in a long put for birdie.

"My drive was decent," she said. "It put me about 110 yards out, and then I stuck it on the green, probably eight or 10 feet (from the hole). It was a pretty decent hole. I was proud of it. I did a little fist pump at the end. I heard my mom and dad in the background screaming. That made me a little bit more relaxed."

On the front nine, Benham had pars on holes 1, 8 and 9. On the back nine, things got a little tougher, where the only pars came on the 16th and 17th holes.

"The course played really tough," Benham said. "It seemed like no one could get it on the green. On par-fours everybody was always short. That was my problem most of the day, being short of the green."

Benham said she thought she had a chance after seeing the front nine scores.

"I knew of the two girls I played with, one girl was from Jasper and she shot a 92, so I knew if she was shooting 92 on her home course, and she was their number one, I should be OK. Other people were struggling, too. I assumed I'd be there. I didn't know I'd get tied for second, literally. I figured I'd be in the top five. I was hoping I was at least.

"After my round was over, there (were) still six teams to come in. We looked at the other teams' first nine holes, and there were only two or three girls that were really capable of reaching my 87. So, I sort of knew I was going to be up at the top."

Jasper won the team championship with a score of 365. Southridge finished second and Castle was third. The Lady Pack team finished fifth, with a score of 481.

"As a team we struggled a little bit," Benham said. "Nikki (Kitchens) just got back with her foot injury. She had 18 stitches. She stepped on broken glass. She had to use a cart, but we shot a 481 as a team, so not the best score. When you only have four girls, you seem to struggle."

Benham now goes to the Eagle Valley Golf Course for Saturday's Evansville North Regional, a course she has never seen.

"It would be lovely to make top three, but I'm shooting more just to actually compete for a spot to get out or to play well," the Crawford senior said. "Last year at regional, I bombed. I shot a 90 and it wasn't I was proud of a 90, it was the way I got it. I was playing awful. I hit out of bounds three times last year off tee shots. I was so upset at how I played last year. I'm hoping I can actually go out and play well this year and just improve and hopefully shoot better than a 90."

Top Individuals (Top 3 to Regional) - 1. Allyson Horney (Jspr) 86, 2. Sarah Boeglin (Sthrdg) 87, 3. Chelsea Benham (CC) 87

Team Scores (Top 3 to Regional)

Jasper 365

(Allison Horney 86, Hannah Seger 89, Katy Schnarr 92, Maria Krempp 98)

Southridge 407

(Sarah Boeglin 87, Katie Hoffman 104, Meghan Meyer 106, Sarah Lange 110)

Castle 428

(Madison Schreiber 97, Alexandra Woolford 105, Jacquelyn Cates 114, Andrea Seavers 118

Boonville 460

(Shelby Schneider 102, Alyssa Hammel 103, Samantha Shoulders 126, Natasha Collins 129)

Tell City 477

(Amber Thomas 94, Cassey Fentress 125, Jessica Ballman 128, Amber Fentress 130)

Crawford County 481

(Chelsea Benham 87, Bandi Lewicki 120, Nichole Kitchens 122, Alivia Newton 152)

Forest Park 484

(Alex Kordes 117, Janae Lange 119, Alexis Merkley 123, Jordan Nord 125)

Springs Valley 504

(Stephanie Jones 96, Morgan Whitaker 115, Lorgan Burgar 122, Kamber Self 172)

South Spencer 548

(Shayna Miller 113, Kara Sermersheim 129, Kristen Keown 150, Brittany Small 156)

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